Lily is a horse-riding, park-going, three-year-old well on her way to becoming an equestrian extraordinaire. Lily is a rider with True Friends’ Therapy and Adaptive Riding program, True Strides, and has grown to love all things horses and riding.
Lily participates in Hippotherapy once a week. “She rides with a therapist and they do a lot of the Myofascial Release with her, which is a type of massage,” said Lily’s mom, Amber. Lily has Moebius Syndrome, a neurological syndrome that means she is not able to make any facial expressions and cannot move her eyes in specific ways.
“We’ve been focusing a lot on loosening her up because she’s so tight, just her muscles are tighter from her brain injury,” explained Amber. “Loosening and then learning to move her body, which is slowly coming. The myofascial stuff has been huge for her. The more she loosens, the easier it is to move.”
Amber and Lily both love the time they get to spend at Therapy and Adaptive Riding each week. “It gives my daughter a fun activity where she can do age-appropriate things,” Amber said. “I know she loves coming here, she gets excited to come here, so that’s always rewarding for us as parents. She just lights up when we say we are coming here.”
The impact Hippotherapy has had on Lily is undeniable. “I’ve seen a lot of changes,” said Amber with a smile. “To me, riding seems so simple, but it was seriously the key to unlocking my daughter.” While Lily is receiving therapy, she is also having fun; playing basketball, bubbles, and interacting with flashcards all while riding. Lily’s favorite activities are trail riding and giving treats to the horses.
Part of unlocking Lily was to help her come out of her shell. “She used to do what we called possum mode where anytime we would go anywhere, especially with multiple people or new people, she would go into shutdown mode where you couldn’t get her awake or anything,” Amber said. “We have seen that so much less now, very rarely does she do it. She is fairly social, likes to see what’s going on, looks around, and just takes in her environment where she never used to do that. I’ve seen huge changes in her.”
“She’s a warrior, she’s got a little ‘tude too. A little attitude,” Amber said, laughing.
Learn more about Therapy and Adaptive Riding here.